New tendencies in hungarian criminal justice

AuthorErika Róth
PositionAssociate Professor, Ph.D., Department of Criminal Procedure and Correctional Law, Faculty of Law, University of Miskolc, Hungary
Erika Róth
LESIJ NO. XIX, VOL. 1/2012
Erika RÓTH
This paper intends to describe what happened in the Hungarian Criminal Procedural Law in
the last decade. Following the most significant changes we can have an impression of tendencies
which have influenced the recent amendments. We can realise that requirements formulated in
documents adopted by international organisations (first of all the European Union, the Council of
Europe) are more and more decisive in the field of criminal justice as well.
Keywords: criminal justice, Hungarian law, jurisdiction, mediation, pre-trial detention,
suspect, victim
It is obvious that it is not possible to deal with all new institutions of criminal procedural law
in a study devoted to the introduction of recent developments to the readers.
The first question is what kind of tendencies we can speak about. It is possible to make a
distinction between tendencies of positive or negative effect – both could be found in the short
history of the new Code on Criminal Procedure (hereafter CCP) in Hungary. Positive is the effect if
the guarantees are strengthened, especially the rights of defence and/or victims, the right to be tried
within reasonable time etc., or when the modification serves the development of the given branch of
The other point of view could be the source of modification. If we examine the tendencies in
criminal justice, it means who the mover was, who lodges the proposal, who ‘table the bill’. Mainly
this is the task of the Government: the Ministry responsible for the given field prepares the bill and
discusses it with other ministries and with representatives of the professional circles interested in the
modification. Due to Hungarian legislation the social debate is necessary before the Parliament tries
the bill. Professionals are also entitled to make a proposal, usually to the Ministry. If the Ministry
agrees with the recommended changes the way is very similar to the former case. The third quite
frequent possibility is when the individual representative submits a proposal, sometimes with
professional assistance. By the law the President of the Republic, the Government, any parliamentary
committee or a Member of Parliament are entitled to lodge a proposal before the Parliament.1 It
might be interesting that only the first President of Republic, Árpád Göncz submitted bills to the
Parliament and two Presidents who were originally lawyers by profession (Ferenc Mádl and László
Sólyom) sent back the most Acts to the Parliament.
When the Government prepares a proposal most likely it is in harmony with the official
criminal policy. With this we arrive at the third type of distinction: tendencies most frequently could
be generated by criminal policy or/and by EU requirements, by other international duties of
the state or by practical necessities. There are some modifications of the CCP in reasoning of
which the Ministry mentioned lack or contradiction found by practicing lawyers.
What kind of tendencies do we meet in the Hungarian legislation? Before starting a
deeper examination of actual tendencies I have to mention some facts in order to make the audience
Associate Professor, Ph.D., Department of Criminal Procedure and Correctional Law, Faculty of Law,
University of Miskolc, Hungary (e-mail:
1 Article 6 paragraph 1 of the Fundamental Law of Hungary (25 April 2011)

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